Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On a stick.

Oddly, we had not one thing on a stick last night during our visit to the Great Minnesota Get-Together. I'm pretty sure that's Minnesota State Fair sacrilege, but I'm going to assume we made up for it in caloric intake.

Blessed cheese curds, a state-fair-only indulgence:

Honey and sunflower seed ice cream:

Nate's beloved turkey sandwich, a must-have:

And mini donuts, the only thing (besides ice cream) Calvin liked:

"Uh, mom? I know you're trying to take a picture with me, but say - you got any more of those small donuts in here?"

"What if I give you a totally pathetic look and begin frantically signing 'more'?"

As they say, "Donuts: It's best for dinner." So he had five.

Nate, Abby, Abby's ever-present bra strap. Classin' it up, state fair style.

Monday night, people. Who knew? Easy to park, plenty of room to walk. It was perfection.

Calvin showing us what a dog does during the police dog demonstration.

A tired, happy, overly-fed Minnesota family.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Most of the pictures I've taken of Calvin look a lot like this:

He has never been interested in the camera; in fact, the opposite is true. He hates it. Maybe it's the flash, maybe it's the way his mom acts behind it: "LOOK! Calvin! Look! Baaah! Booo! Heeeeee! Ahhhhhh! OVER HEEEEERRRREEEEE!"

It's probably the flash.

Getting a picture of him looking at me, much less SMILING at me, is difficult. And results in a lot more picture taking for him, because it takes me forever to get one with his face in it.

So the other day I decided to try getting him to look at the camera and smile by asking him to "say CHEEEEEEEESE!" And it worked!


Thought maybe if we took a few together that would help.

Yeah, we'll keep working on it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Variety pack.

1) I need mascara recommendations. I have tried just about every kind out there to no avail — from CoverGirl to Dior Show. In fact, I may have tried some of them more than once, because they all sound the same. Lash Blaster! Blast Lashter! Megablaster Lashtastic! How's a girl to choose when they are ALL lashtastic and offer me XXL Extreme Lash Volume!?

I am not opposed to paying exorbitant amounts of money for the perfect mascara,* though I'd kind of like to know for sure it's the perfect mascara before doing so. Help a sister out!

*I don't really mean that, Nate. Truly, I never pay more than um, well...you're in two fantasy football leagues! Stop asking questions!

2) I'm really annoyed with the Gap. I ordered two pairs of jeans online last week, including one pair of Long and Leans (my trusty and reliable old friend). They are awful. AWFUL. I may as well have purchased skinny jeans. They make me look neither long nor lean (not that I was looking for a miracle fix on that second one, but for real - don't name your pants something hopeful if they only provide the opposite effect). I can't imagine anyone over the age of 30 or weight of 130 would be interested in wearing these pants. Ugh. From the looks of things (i.e. skinny jeans as far as the eye can see) I may be stuck wearing skirts all winter. Which might be tolerable, provided I am able to purchase this.

3) Project Runway has been extremely stupid this season. The only redeeming moment so far? Last night when Tim Gunn called Gretchen manipulative right to her face. Oh, how I love that man.

4) On the subject of TV, I miss Ugly Betty. The TV Guide channel has been running reruns of that show, and I'm falling in love with it all over again. Why do shows I love get canceled?

5) On the subject of Ugly Betty, I am desperate to own the song played during Hilda's wedding — "Be My Only" by Tim Myers and Schuyler Fisk. I don't know who Tim Myers is, but I love Schuyler Fisk ("Paperweight" is one of my all-time favorite songs) and I'm mad that it's not available anywhere for purchase. The only way to hear it right now is on You Tube, where you have a few lovely viewing options. I think my favorite is the one accompanied by a still photo of a squirrel.

6) Fun fact: Schuyler Fisk played Kristy in The Babysitter's Club Movie.

7) This has turned into one seriously weird post. I'm going to stop now.

8) Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

One for the baby book.

We've entered a new phase. One that, to the trained ear, sounds something like this:

"Oh HECK no, I am NOT getting naked and lying on that table because I JUST KNOW that woman is going to do something terrible to me NO NO NO NO NO WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Calvin seems to have the whole doctor's office = pain thing figured out now, because he was less than agreeable when it came to sitting on the examination table yesterday. But we muddled through with some love from Bear and a handful of goldfish crackers.

Little dude is now 24lbs 13oz (55th percentile) and 33 inches tall (93rd percentile).* And he's off the charts developmentally. Like, literally. They give me the same chart at every well baby visit and ask me to check off the things he's doing. It only goes up to 21 months, and he's doing everything on the chart. So I'm not really sure what he's supposed to do next, but I'll be on the lookout because I'm sure it will be something totally awesome like sitting in a chair unassisted.

He really is just changing and growing in unbelievable ways — running and jumping and talking and learning new things every day. Our baby is now a full-fledged toddler, and Nate and I are just eating it up. He is a total delight.

And quite cute, if I do say so myself.

*Someday these really-boring-to-everyone-but-me posts are going to come in handy, I just know it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Regularly scheduled programming.

And...we're back to pictures of Calvin being cute. In this week's episode, Calvin attends Grandma's summer work party at the Como Zoo, where he:

Enjoys a picnic lunch.

Really enjoys his first ice cream sandwich.

Reluctantly poses for a photo with his grandparents.

Befriends (and attempts to ride) a shiny gold turtle.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's episode, titled "Calvin Gets His 15-Month Shots."


I'm the kind of person who, when asked by a friend where to have lunch, says, "I don't know, what sounds good to you?"

I'm also an opinionated person, and in the right situation I have no problem letting everyone know exactly what I think. But most of the time I'm happy to defer to someone else's judgment, to sweep my feelings under the rug, to just go with the flow. I don't like to decide. I don't like to inconvenience anyone. I don't like confrontation. I don't like to cause a scene or make a call that might not sit well with others.

It's stupid, really. Why can't I just say "Let's go to Panera!"

I hate that I'm so averse to making decisions, especially about insignificant things like where to go for lunch. Because when it comes time to make a big decision, I am nearly paralyzed by fear and doubt. Most likely because I'm out of practice.

As a parent, there are millions of decisions to be made. I knew that going in, but I thought parental decision-making would be fairly straightforward. I'm the parent, I choose what's best for my child. End of story. No outside opinions needed, no one to offend.

I never once considered that I may not know what's best for my child.

Last week Nate and I made a fairly big decision — we decided to move Calvin to a new daycare. It's a long story, but it all comes down to scheduling. Our current provider is wonderful, but she has requested a lot of paid time off as part of our contract, and her hours have become a challenge for us to accommodate with our work schedules.

So, we decided it was time to move on. After touring and interviewing a few places, we found what we think is going to be a really great new place for Calvin: a small Christian daycare center that only closes on major holidays and is open normal business hours. We loved it. Yesterday I went and picked up all the paperwork — Calvin is registered and set to begin mid-September.

Almost immediately I began second-guessing our decision.

Calvin loves his current daycare. He loves his provider and the other kids (and so do we). She has been so good to him, and for him. I'm sure he thinks of her as another mother — he's been with her all day, five days a week, since he was four months old. He is excited to arrive each morning, and often hesitant to leave. And within the last few weeks he's made some major strides behaviorally (thank you, Lord). He is happy and thriving there.

But I'm going to take all of that away from him because it's no longer convenient for me.

I feel incredibly selfish. And really sad. When we initially made the decision to find a new daycare it was all very logical — our current situation wasn't working for us, so we needed to find a new one. But now I just feel sick about it. I feel like I'm choosing to put my needs above those of my child. Which is crazy and untrue. I mean, I can't even put my needs above those of a friend when it comes to deciding on a lunch spot! This decision is not being made lightly; of course I want what's best for my son. But last night the guilt started creeping in, and I just kept wondering whether we could make our current situation work, for Calvin's sake.

Yes, we could. We could stay there and Nate and I could keep scrambling to find backup care every time there's an unexpected closing or a last-minute vacation. We could stay there and I could continue to feel like a crappy employee doing a half-hearted job because I'm always calling off or leaving early to cover daycare. We could stay there and spend all of our vacation time covering our provider's — leaving no time for our family to take a vacation of our own.

We could stay there, but it would require weekly, even daily, sacrifice on our parts. Am I willing to do that for my child? Yes, absolutely. Is staying there the best decision for my family? No, I don't think it is.

Nate made a good point last night — that I'm assuming this change will be detrimental to Calvin. That we'll be trading a good experience for him for good schedule for us. Which, from the looks of it, isn't really the case. I think he's going to love it there, once he gets through the transitional period. So, in all likelihood, we'll be trading a good experience for him and an inconvenient schedule for us for a good experience for him and a good schedule for us. A win-win. So why all the worry and second-guessing?

Just me, I guess. This is not my strong suit as a parent. Reading, playing, comforting, disciplining — yes. Making potentially life-altering decisions for my child — not so much.

I know this is just one of many decisions I'll have to make on behalf of my children, and a fairly easy one at that.

Heaven help me when a big one comes along.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sweater weather.

I look at this, and I just want to sit down on the floor and cry.

I don't want to cry because the humidity is 83% (my hair looks awesome, btw) or because it's going to storm all day today (don't mind that a bit, actually). I want to cry because I am so. sick. of. summer.

Upper eighties and sun every day for the foreseeable future? Waaaaaaaaaaaah!

I hate being hot. The only thing I hate more is the thought of being stuck in an elevator or constricted in some way (just a tad claustrophobic over here). Being hot is gross. Frizzy (or, in my case, frizzier) hair, sweaty skin, sticky clothes...blegh. Unless I am parked in a chair next to the ocean or a pool, I don't want anything to do with heat.

So, I think we can all agree it's a good thing I live in Minnesota. Although — you may want to sit down for this — Minnesota summers get hot. And really, really humid. Contrary to popular belief, we do not spend our summers wearing snow pants and scraping ice off our car windshields. We spend it sweating in shorts, just like the rest of you.

Minnesotans — They're Just Like Us!

Between hot and cold, I prefer cold. When you're cold, you don't sweat. Your hair might be dried out, but it doesn't look like you just put your hand on one of those electricity ball things. Your (okay, my) pasty white skin remains covered at all times. And when the cold becomes unbearable, you simply add another layer. Whereas with heat...well, you can only get so naked.

I enjoy the early months of summer. June is lovely here, early July is tolerable. But by the time mid to late July rolls around, I'm over it. I'm dreaming about fall — crisp leaves, pumpkin scented candles, brisk air. I'm ready to go shopping for new jeans and sweaters. I'm ready to light a fire in the fireplace I wish we had. I'm ready for — dare I say it? — a little bit of snow.

Yeah, no. I shouldn't have said that. Because before I know it, the forecast is going to look a lot like this again.

Oh, Minnesota. I have such a love/hate relationship with you.

Is there a state where it's always fall?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sous chef.

Cooking has become next to impossible.

I don't like it to begin with, so add in the challenge of cooking while addressing the needs of a child who a) constantly wants to be held b) refuses to sit anywhere other than between my legs and the kitchen cabinets and c) somehow keeps finding ways to grab sharp objects off the counter top, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

Or, at the very least, an argument for ordering takeout.

I'm just not inclined to cook or bake right now. It's too hard. But this package of chocolate chips had been staring me down for about a week and Nate was out with friends Saturday night, so I figured I may as well try to make some cookies.

Building on the brilliance of a fellow blogger, I decided to bring Calvin up to the counter while I baked. I pulled a dining room chair into the corner of the kitchen, grabbed my salad spinner bowl (plastic plus it has grip on the bottom), and gathered a variety of dried goods for him to "cook" with — including some leftover uncooked pasta. I stood him up on the chair, handed him a spatula, and let him loose.

He LOVED it. Not only did I get the cookies mixed, I got all four batches baked. He stirred his pasta and shook his ingredients (oatmeal, baking soda, salt...delicious) happily for nearly an hour. After I took the cookies out to cool, I turned around to find he had grabbed two and was nibbling them both. Yes, it was nearly 5pm and no, I don't usually give him sweets — but there was no separating Calvin from those cookies. So instead I used it as a teaching opportunity, and showed him how to dunk them in milk. Everyone deserves an all cookie dinner once in a while, right?

Cookies aside, my little kitchen experiment has resulted in both good and bad news.

The good news: He did it again last night while Nate made dinner and I baked bread. It seems we've unlocked the key to kitchen productivity.

The bad news: I'm going to have to start cooking again. Oh, and my kid now knows about chocolate.

Whipping up a delicious batch of whole wheat pasta with baking soda, oatmeal, and salt:

Offering Matilda a taste of his culinary masterpiece via measuring cup:

Learning the most important dunk of all — cookies in milk:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ice Ice Baby.

I think I might have pica. But not the dirt/paper/paint eating variety.

I eat ice. A lot of it.

I like it (need it?) so much that I often find myself grabbing ice cubes out of my — and occasionally, Nate's — glass. For me, having a significant amount of ice in my glass is darned near as important as liking the beverage that comes along with it. And when there's not enough in mine...well, I steal his. Isn't sharing what marriage is all about?

Truth be told, I never thought much of my ice eating/stealing habit until Nate gave me a stern lecture on social graces. Apparently it's gross to stick your hand in a glass of water, and even grosser when it's not yours. Especially in public.


I still do it, of course. Just not in front of him. Or in restaurants.

But I guess I've done it in front of Calvin a time or two, because last night he crawled up on my lap, stuck his hand in my water, and fished out an ice cube. He stuck the first one in his mouth, then pulled out a second one and promptly put it down the front of my shirt. I shrieked, he cracked up, and my glass of water was quickly moved out of reach.

Not sure who taught him that funny little trick, but I have my guesses...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pictures of pictures.

It only took us three years, three months, a couple of weeks, and two hours to get something on this massive blank wall at the top of our stairs.

FYI: creating a photo collage is hard.

In other exciting home improvement news, we also hung the roman shade the previous homeowners purchased for this window and gave to us the day we moved in — three years, three months, and a couple of weeks ago.

There's a reason you never hear "Breyers" and "fast" in the same sentence.

No shoes, no shirt, no service.

See, Mom? They didn't say anything about pants.

Cal is obsessed with shoes right now. Yesterday he brought this pair to me, pressed them into my hand while saying "shews! shews! shews!", and sat down on the floor, foot outstretched. He also spent a considerable amount of time attempting to walk around in my jewel-studded flats and, later, my flip flop.

I think it might be time for baby's first trip to the Nordstrom shoe department. They don't require customers to wear pants, do they?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I think Dairy Queen would benefit from a lesson in the differences between major and minor.

Though I will admit the email subject line Get a minor deal on the All-New Mini Blizzard! isn't quite as compelling.


A photo summary of life with Calvin.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bed Bath and Beyond.

Not so much bed as post-nap, but still sleepy and precious.

Bath, yes.

And beyond...well, he was just really cute this weekend.

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